May 26, 2011

What has kept us busy...

Our Bird friends are growing!  While I'm not a huge fan of birds, they are awful cute to watch.  (Sorry for the blurry pictures, I don't dare get to close for fear of getting attacked)
I'm pretty sure they will be leaving the nest soon, they are getting very crowded in there!

Dressing up like Spiderman-AllBoy is always a hit.  Check out those webbed hands!  (Oh, and don't forget the snow boots with plaid shorts, did you know that's a new trend??)
 This little boy get's to spend a few days a week with us and we love it!  Lila is really really in love, often throwing a fit when his dad get's here to pick him up.

Bailey signed up for Girls on the Run this year for the first time.  I highly recommend the program, and I think
Bailey would as well.  She worked so hard all season and ran (run/walk) her first 5k.  She did awsome, I'm so proud of her and the 1,999 other girls that ran that day!
 Proud supporters of thier sisters!
 Coming in to finish.  (Bailey is the second one on the left)
 Some of the girls from her "team"!
 Matt planted our garden.  But first the boxes had to be weeded.  This will be our first year growing anything besides tomatoes.  We planted lettuce, snap peas, green beans, jalapenos, green and red peppers, tomatoes, and I think zuccini.  Can't wait to get some fresh produce (although, I'm so glad I have someone else to do the weeding!!!  :)
 All this rain has made for lot's of snuggle time!
 And, apparently, while we don't live near any bodies of water, we have a frog issue.  Ask my kids and they love it.  Me?  I'm scared to walk through the yard for fear of stepping on one or having it hop on me and "attack" me (Irrational?  maybe).  The kids have loved having them for pets though.  They take them for "walks" in the yard (a.k.a. tricking them into thinking they are being set free and then catching them again), check on them all the time and do lot's and lot's of handwashing. 
 It's torture I tell you!

 We used to be really good about Lila keeping her pipe in her bedroom, but recently we've gotten really really relaxed!  Here she was being crabby and tired, so she decided to take a little rest on the dining room floor.
 Elliot graduated from pre-school last night!  He's officially a "young-fiver"???  I need to find Landon's graduation pictures too, just to see compare the two, I have a feeling they will be hard to tell apart! 
And, to top it all off, throw a few baseball games in there, a choir concert, doctor appointments, and we are on a never ending move!  But we love it!

May 24, 2011

Surgery Planning

I'm trying to get everything in order for my life and family after I have surgery, blah, I definitely don't miss this part of last years medical stuff!

Anyway, please feel free, but DO NOT feel obligated (ANYONE) to sign up for meals.  With the kids being home, I did include some lunches on there as well, sandwiches, macaroni & cheese, whatever, sometime lunch is the hardest meal of the day to get together in reality (especially with Matt working throughout as well)!  Feel free to email me with information regarding dropping a meal off, or email matt (probably the better choice if it's after June 5) matt (at) distinctivegroupinc (dot) com (substitute an @ sign and a . in the appropriate places).

And, as ALWAYS, THANK YOU so much.  We are overwhelmed with the support that we continue to receive!  You are all AMAZING!

I am going to TRY to get Matt to update facebook during surgery, but no guarantees on that (he has a hard time typing on my phone, and he just doesn't like facebook).  If he won't do it, I will try to do it as soon as I'm able, who knows when that will be though!

May 19, 2011

Surgery Update

Yesterday I met with the plast surgeon to go over some questions I had regarding the surgery.  Matt and I discussed what we heard, we discussed recovery, I prayed about it and we are going through with it. 

I know that some of you were concerned whether this was the right thing to do or not, I want you to know that I appreciate your concern (really, I do), but I truly feel peace about this decision. 

Some of you expressed concern about the doctor.  Let me reassure you that the problems I am having now are not his fault.  When having the mastectomy and reconstruction, it was thought that I wouldn't have to have radiation.  But, as we all know, that all changed.  Typically he doe not do implant reconstruction on a person who has radiation for a variety of reasons, but for me it was to late, we had already gone this route.

In the next few weeks (week really) I will post some specific needs, if you want to volunteer to help, that's fabulous and will be very appreciated, but we absolutely do not expect anyone to help either. 

As of this moment, surgery is going to happen on June 6 (the first week the kids are home from school) at around 7:30 am (that's going to be an early arrival time... whew).  I will be in the hospital for 3-5 days (which could prove to be our biggest obstacle).  I will be able to drive again after about 2 weeks, (if you know me well, you know I'm not really good at this one, I like to sneak away)!  Despite the fact that I will have 3+ drains (if you know me well, you know this was the WORST part of the last two surgeries for me) I will be able to shower (which makes having drains about 50% better)!  I will be on some strong pain pills along with a pain pump for about 5 days.  I think overall, in my head it was going to be much worse than what he has told me it's going to be, but only time will tell!

Right now I do have one need that doesn't need to be scheduled, but can be done at anytime... prayers. 

Along with prayers for this surgery and recovery to go smoothly, I would also covet your prayers for my friend Kristi and her family.  Also for another friend and her husband who are dealing with cancer and surgery.

I hate cancer!

Bluebird Cancer Retreats :: Part 2

Saturday morning we were up bright and early - breakfast @ 7:30am.

After breakfast there were 2 speakers, both talked about healing with the whole body.  We did some different breathing excercises and really just relaxed.  I didn't agree with everything everyone said, but was always able to take something away.  Simple things really, but at the time, things I needed to hear.  God knew. 

After lunch, in true camp form, we had arts and crafts.  We got to build and paint a bluebird house!  My house is currently hanging on a tree in my backyard and if a bird never moves in that's ok, it's a bright pop of color in my backyard. 

After lunch it was elective time.  We had signed up for different treatments that were scheduled throughout the afternoon.  I signed up for relexology and a massage.  It would be my first time trying either one of them. 

The massage felt great.  Why did I wait this long to try it?

The reflexology was interesting.  I really knew nothing about it going in.  So ignorant in fact that I was caught off guard when this lady wanted to see my feet.  My feet aren't exactly my best asset.  I'm definitely a skeptic, so I don't know how that affected what she did, but the one thing I did notice was after I told her that I carry a lot of stress in my jaw, she massaged the top of my big toe, just under the nail and I think it really did loosen up! 

It was great to be able to try things I would have otherwise not done, and I definitely have plans for future massages!

Later that night we had a campfire.  We were lucky enough to have a very talented guitar and sax player among us.  My new friend C was blessed with an amazing voice, so we listened to music for a while.  One song we sang that was reminiscent of my days at Camp Concordia was "It only takes a spark" and C sang an amazing song "Love in every language" (just finding out now that it's by Sandi Patt, something else reminiscent of my childhood).  Then we talked.  About everything and nothing, all at the same time. 

I don't really like campfires because of the smell and how it saturates everything, but this was a perfect fire, the wind was blowing just strong enought to blow all the smoke away and I didn't smell at all at the end of the night!  (Thanks God)!

Sunday morning after breakfast we did some morning reflections and closing circle.  We were also visited by "Sister Sue" who was quite funny!

It was an amazing weekend.  I was refreshed, brought bacvk to a more peaceful place that I hadn't been in a while.  Thank you Bluebird Cancer Retreats, thank you Bluebird staff, volunteers, all my new friends, the nurse at Cancer & Hematology who sent me and most of all, Thanks be to God!

May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

Wow, what a difference a year makes.  It's been over a year since I've been diagnosed, but I clearly remember this day last year, Mary had bought a rather large "Fight Like a Girl" cake from Second Floor Bakery, Mary and my dad gave me some pink boxing gloves and they had some people over to thier house to enjoy the cake together and celebrate. 

Lot's of things have changed.  My hair is about 10 inches shorter.  My chest is completely lopsided (opposed to being non-existent last year), more on that later in this post.  I've gone through many ups and downs.  But, that's life, not just my life.  In fact, I know that many people's up are much higher than mine, and many lows much lower.  I've heard the word cancer more times than I ever wanted to in the last year.  And they weren't referring to myself.  I feel like every time I turn around someone else has cancer or knows someone who does.  It sucks.  It makes my heart ache.  What is going on?????  I really thought that having cancer and seeing how others helped us would make me so much better at helping others.  Well, that's not the case.  I still don't know what to do.  I don't know what to say.  I feel helpless.  That sucks too.

So anyway, that tangent is over.  Chest lopsided.  Well... reconstruction was miserable for me.  I know many people who are up walking around and doing things the next day.  Not me.  I was down for a good week.  And, guess what.  The results... well, they suck.  (I know that doesn't sound nice, but it sounds much nicer than other things I could say...)  Anyway... because of the originally unplanned radiation on the left side, the results are not optimal (to say the least).  It's to the point where I can't hide it, even though I know it's more obvious to me than the rest of the world, even my doctors have said it's not good.  So, what do you do to fix that?  You have surgery again of course.  Do you go in to lift one up and still have less than perfect results?  or do you go the much more invasive route of having a tram flap done?   One hour surgery or 8?  One week recovery or 8 weeks?  Long term good results or temporary questionable ones?  Arghhhh.  This isn't easy.  Right now I'm leaning toward the TRAM flap.  In fact, pending insurance approval, it's scheduled.  For June 6.  So, I'm requesting prayers for clear direction on this.  And, if I go through with it, the support we would need to get through the recovery. 

Happy Mothers Day to all the wonderful mom's I know!

(One of the roses that my wonderful husband gave me for our 12 year anniversary on May 1)

May 4, 2011

The Will of God (author unknown)

The Will of God will never take you
Where the Grace of God cannot keep you,
Where the Arms of God cannot support you,
Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs
Where the power of God cannot endow you.

The Will of God will never take you,
Where the spirit of God cannot work through you
Where the Wisdom of God cannot teach you
Where the Army of God cannot protect you
Where the hands of God cannot mold you.

Teh will of God will never take you
Where the Love of God cannot enfold you,
Where the MErcies of God cannot sustain you
Where teh peace of God cannot calm your fears
Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you

The will of God will never take you
Where the Comfor tof God cannot dry your tears,
Where the word of God cannot feed you,
Where the MIracles of God cannot be done for you,
Where the Omnipresence of God cannot find you.

May 3, 2011

Bluebird :: Part 1

Lately, I have been very anxious.  I've ahd a few anxiety attacks.  Life has just felt very difficult. 

I think there are a few reasons for these feelings.  One was that on a very very subconcious level the one year mark scared me.  (did I mention that this was on a ver subconcious level?)  Another reason was the recent MRI's and the difficulty getting straight forward answers.  Ultimately everything is fine in regards to that as well, which I 90% knew all along, but there is always that little doubt that creeps in and consumes. 

Fast forward a little to the Monday before my last herceptin treatment.  I got an email from one of the nurses at Cancer & Hematology.  She was telling me about this Bluebird Cancer Retreat.  I had seen the brochures at the office, but always kind of looked past them, dismissing them as something that wasn't my style.  But after looking at the Bluebird website a bit and seeing all they do, including pampering, I decided I was in (did I mention I only had about 10 days notice, and it happened to work and my husband was immediately on board with the idea?). 

With anxiety in my chest I called and signed up.  I knew that the timing of this was no coincidence.  I needed to get away in a really bad way and better yet, God knew it, and provided a way for it to happen. 

I had a lot of anxiety about going by myself.  I was telling a friend about this anxiety and she said soemthing that made me think.  She said "I'll pray you meet someone in the parking lot".  I hadn't even thought of that.  I'm so quick to pray for the big picture, that was a detail I hadn't thought to pray so specifically for. 

On the way to Camp Geneva I felt completely sick.  I almost said forget it and turned around.  Despite the anxiety that I was carrying (that felt like a large brick on my chest), I continued on.  I pulled into the parking lot feeling teh brick getting heavier by the second.  I jumped out of the truck (literally jumped, it was Matt's truck) and saw a women wearing a blue sparkly hat, giving me the hint that I was in the right place!  I then turned to see another 'camper' walking up as well, she had a great, welcoming smile.  We were both welcomed with a hug by the director and told to go inside. 

Once inside we were introduced to each other.  While I didn't learn her name until we were inside (for privacy purposes, we'll call her C), I know that God was faithful in answering that prayer about finding a friend in the parking lot. 

At the same time I was introduced to my roomate (who for privacy purposes, we'll call A).  This is another area where I've had a lot of anxiety.  Sleep doesn't come easy for me (if your a longtime reader you know this already), so I take Ambien which puts me into a very deep sleep.  Sometimes I snore.  Sometimes I talk, many times I don't remember things frmot eh time I take the pill until I fall asleep.  So anyway, this all had me a bit anxious and nervous. 

Turns out A and I got along great, we both have 4 year old sons (her only), we are both Christians, we are almost the same age and one of the best parts, wass we both took Ambien to sleep.  God is SO good! (oh yeah, did I mention we both had cancer or was that kind of assumed since we were at a cancer retreat and all?)

On Friday we introduced ourselves, told what kind fo cancer we had, did some yoga (a first for me), ate dinner, did some more discussion time, had dessert and went to bed.  I was SO tired, but so ready for another day, God had already shown me multiple times in just these short first hours that this was where I was meant to be at this time. 

This is only part 1 or my weekend.  I plan to tell you so much more about what a wonderful time I had here.  If you have had (ever) cancer or know someone who would benefit from this, please check out the website!  There are three more retreats this year I believe!